The Reading: Romans 8:18-25
“… as we await … the redemption of our bodies.” (v.23) RSV
Sometimes we are given the impression by religious teaching that our bodies are wicked, or at least weak. The Greeks used to teach that the body was merely the casket that held the divine spark. The body could be either indulged or denied, but in either case it would not affect the spirit of the divine within.
This is so wrong. God created the material world and said it was “good” (Genesis 1:31). This included the bodies of Adam and Eve. The human race was made so that body, mind and spirit were all interrelated; no one could be fully human unless all three aspects were functioning properly.
Our bodies are a gift and not just a necessary evil. When we die we will shed our mortal bodies, but that is not because we don’t need them anymore. We leave this earth as body-less souls. We go to be with the Lord, but there will await “the redemption of our bodies” (v.23). The bodies that we shall have will be the body of the risen Christ.
God treats our body as equally valuable as our mind and spirit. Why else would he deign to take on human flesh and become man (John 1:14)? God has forever taken on himself human flesh. He became like us so that we could become like him.
Just as God transformed the mortal flesh of Jesus into immortality, so he will transform us in like manner; but that still lies in the future. Meantime, we treat our bodies with love and respect. God comes to us through our bodies as well as through our minds. God reveals himself through all our senses. Let us enjoy the presence of God in the air we breathe, the food we eat, the nature we see and feel, the bodies we touch.
Like all great gifts they can also be used by the devil! We can sell our souls for “a mess of pottage” as did Esau, or the caresses of a Delilah, as did Samson. Beware!
Thank you Lord for the gift of my body. May it be to me the Temple of the Holy Spirit, the House of God. Amen.
1 Should we pray for our body?
2 What does Paul teach about the body in the afterlife?